Let Go Or Be Dragged – ZEN PROVERB
For the last year I’ve been looking into minimalism, I’ve slowly got rid of things, but living with a hoarder grandmother I’m struggling. I’ve so far filled up 2 builders skips last year and done numerous trips to charity, while earning a small amount selling things that I thought could be sold. So why, a year later am I still drowning in stuff??
12 years ago, at the tender age of 19, I made the decision to purchase my grandmothers house, my childhood home, from her. With her back then being in her 60’s the house, 3 bedrooms and 1/3 acre garden, was becoming too much for her. So I made a deal that I bought her house on one condition that she never goes into care. Who wouldn’t say no to that? The only problem, the one thing that didn’t even cross my mind, not only was I taking on a house, I was taking on 60 odd years worth of hoarding.
And even know I have another 12 years worth on top of it, as well as an extra 4 people living in the house. SO. MUCH.STUFF!!!
They say when living with a hoarder and you want to de-clutter then you should always start with your own stuff. This should then help the hoarder see how nice it is to have a clean and empty space. Well I’ve done that, yet apparently, me clearing my stuff is code for ”fill with crap from everyone else.” I even moved my grandmother from one room to another as a way to go through her items in her room one by one, this result ended up in 16 bin-bags of clothes being removed, 4 bin bags full of shoes and 10 bin bags full of rubbish and 5 bin bags full of stuff that didn’t actually belong to her and belonged to someone else in the house. I was amazed and so proud of her. Yet it didn’t last, her room is full again.
So what to do? My house is up for sale and I’m downsizing, I need this stuff removing. But how?? How do I do it??
Well, 2019 is my time to take back control of my house. I need to be ruthless. I need to do this for me. But I need to look at it from a different angle. I need to think more into what I am doing. I don’t want to upset anyone. But for my own mental health I need the stuff to go. It’s time for me! It’s time to take control. But how? With a hoarder? Well first thing is first…
UNDERSTAND A HOARDER AND A MINIMALIST
Both types of people have different mind sets when it comes to items. One finds sentimental value in everything and has the ”One day I may need it” attitude, while the other has sentimental values in items yet knows which ones actually serve purpose and has the ”If I haven’t used it recently then I don’t need it’ attitude. Yet both types of people suffer living with the other. My grandmother can’t understand why I don’t want to keep all the sentimental items, yet I can’t see why she wants to keep everything especially when in my eyes it’s just filling up space that could be used for making new memories. It’s such a hard situation to be in. I’ve sat and watched programme after programme on hoarding and minimalism. I’ve read books, listened to podcasts and spoke to other minimalists. I’m eager and keen to simplify my life, while on the other hand my grandmother isn’t ready. I’ve given her the books to read herself, I’ve tried putting the programmes on around her, yet she gets up and leaves the room. So how do two completely different people come together to live in peace??
This is a difficult one, one on hand I want my house to be my house. I want it to be how I want to live. I want to live in peace, simply, with less stuff. Yet I don’t want to upset my grandmother in the process as the items in my house I want to get rid of don’t belong to me. They are my grandmothers sentimental items! Both of us previously have been bought to tears due to our living conditions. There are sentimental items belonging to my grandmother of people in our life, whom we don’t communicate with anymore, yet to her it’s her memories. To me I’ve accepted my past and want to move on, and get rid of anything that just brings up bad memories in my life. The 5 china sets, each one has it’s own sentimental value to my grandmother. They will never ever be used or un-boxed, yet each one means so much to her. Theres a 20ft container full of items that haven’t seen the light of day for over 7 years, she has no idea whats in there but she doesn’t want to get rid. So we had to talk …
This was basically what my talk was about. Trying to explain to my grandmother that living the way we are now isn’t healthy. I want to be able to make more memories with her, I wan’t her to enjoy her retirement days. It’s time for us both to let go or be dragged. I want space for the kids to be able to play freely. More days out with the family instead of going through more stuff. Cleanliness, space, happiness and joy. We spoke and listened to each other. Instead of shouting at each other like our previous conversations. We seem to understand each other better. I understand her life, I understand why she hoards, and it’s not unusual for her generation to hoard. She now understands that being bought up with a hoarder has turned me into wanting simplify my life more. She still doesn’t understand why I haven’t got sentimental attachments to everything. But we have come to an understanding. The stuff is going, but not everything, we are going to work together to get this done.
2019 will be spent removing 90% of the stuff from the house